1898 HOME > Jones Act
On March 2, 1917, President Woodrow Wilson signed the Jones-Shafroth Act. This law gave
Puerto Ricans U.S. citizenship. The Jones Act separated the Executive, Judicial, and Legislative
branches of Puerto Rican government, provided civil rights to the individual, and created a locally elected
bicameral legislature. The two houses were a Senate consisting of 19 members and a 39-member House of Representatives. However, the Governor and the President of the United States had the
power to veto any law passed by the legislature. Also, the United States Congress had the power
to stop any action taken by the legislature in Puerto Rico. The U.S. maintained control over fiscal and economic matters and exercised authority over mail services, immigration, defense and other basic governmental matters.